Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat - AL

by Tim Heaney on April 12, 2010 @ 16:00:00 PDT

 


Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: AL | NL

Fantasy baseball closer depth charts: AL | NL

In fantasy baseball, the closer position remains volatile. Rarely does every closer hang on to the job for an entire season - injuries, poor performance and managerial decisions can cloud a team's bullpen picture.

Should you be concerned about a struggling stopper? Which relievers are climbing the depth chart? Are any injuries popping up? KFFL.com's Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat keeps you informed when you're looking for saves.

Key

Job security (JS) score 1 (unstable) to 5 (untouchable)
Health (H) score 1 (injury-prone) to 5 (durable)

 

Baltimore Orioles

Closer: Jim Johnson

Understudy: Mike Gonzalez

Lurkers: Kam Mickolio, Matt Albers, Cla Meredith

The O's are giving Gonzalez a breather from the role after a disastrous start to his season; the lefty needs to work on what the team is calling a flaw in his delivery. Floating speculation says Gonzo might be injured; wouldn't be surprising, given his lengthy medical chart. He left the team anyway because of the birth of his first child and will return on Tuesday; maybe that'll help clear his head.

In the meantime, Johnson will probably get the call in the ninth and should be added in all formats, but his duration as closer will mainly depend on Gonzalez's progress. Albers, Meredith or lefty specialist Will Ohman might see chances, too, but none is worth anything more than an AL-only flier.

Gonzo should be universally retained; it's too early in the season to panic. The O's want to have Johnson as a setup man all things equal, and Gonzalez was paid to close.

Job security score: 2

Health score: 4

Texas Rangers

Closer: Neftali Feliz

Understudy: Frank Francisco

The Rangers are giving Francisco a break; they say they plan on returning him to the closer role once he fixes his velocity and location. In the meantime, the exciting 21-year-old Feliz will add more value to his deadly arsenal and should be picked up if he's somehow still on your league's waiver wire.

Francisco must be stashed everywhere; the Rangers took it easy with his schedule last year when he was fighting injuries. It's easy to think they'll fall in love with Feliz, but Texas is loyal to a healthy and fixed Francisco.


Francisco needs time away

Job security score: 3

Health score: 4

Toronto Blue Jays

Closer: Jason Frasor

Understudy: Kevin Gregg

Lurkers: Scott Downs

Frasor was granted rest days on Friday and Sunday, allowing Gregg to save each contest. While he probably won't receive as many chances per week as he did in fantasy Week 1, Gregg is the clear alternative for saves. Manager Cito Gaston indicated Friday that Downs is an option, too, but one would expect that to be in lefty-heavy situations.

A one-inning save Saturday gave Frasor his third straight conversion after his Opening Day blunder. Though Frasor has had to work around some jams, his owners should hang tight.

Job security score: 2

Health score: 4

Mound meetings

  • Ryan Perry picked up a save for the Detroit Tigers Saturday as closer Jose Valverde, Joel Zumaya and Phil Coke rested. The big-armed Perry fanned one in 1 1/3 frames. Considered a future closer, he's an optimal LIMA reliever in AL-only and is worth a shot in a similar deep mixed role.

Fantasy Baseball Closer Hot Seat: AL | NL

Fantasy baseball closer depth charts: AL | NL

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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